Current Conditions

Cloudy
3.6°C

FLOOD WATCH 2017: What does this year's flooding mean for some farmers? 'No income'

Dorel Krsta, of ASG Produce in Armstrong, says the financial loss is huge.
May 16, 2017 - 6:30 PM

ARMSTRONG - Some farmers in the North Okanagan have more fish than produce in their fields right now due to flooding.

Dorel Krsta, who owns ASG Produce on Otter Lake Road in Armstrong, can’t plant a thing in most of his seven acre field because it’s covered in water. He has hundreds of plants from his greenhouse ready to go in the ground, but nowhere to put them.

In the fields where his crops are supposed to go are muddy trenches, puddles, and dead fish that first washed in when the creek near his home spilled. 

“(There) was lots of fish, probably, I don’t know, hundreds,” Krsta says.

Crops that were already in the ground when the water rose, such as potatoes and garlic, are likely ruined. If he does manage to get some crops in the ground, they'll be a month behind, leaving sales at local farmers markets and select grocery stores uncertain. 

“I think I’m done this year for farming,” he says, noting the financial loss is huge.

Dorel Krsta dug trenches throughout his field, but the ground remains too saturated to plant.
Dorel Krsta dug trenches throughout his field, but the ground remains too saturated to plant.

Also in Armstrong, Ying Ping and Allan Jong were heavily impacted this year when the creek that runs through their Pleasant Valley Road property spilled and flooded their fields. Asked what the conditions mean for business, Allan says, ‘No income.’

“We’ve got celery, cabbage lettuce, broccoli, all these things that are ready to plant. There’s nowhere for it to go,” he says.

While this year was particularly bad, the Jongs say flooding is an ongoing issue on their property, and has been for years ever since the City stopped dredging the creek.

“(Our family) has been farming this land for 60 years,” Allan says. “Every year was good up until… 10, 15 years ago. They declared that creek to be a riparian area. They won’t dredge it.”

Much of the Jongs farm in downtown Armstrong, near Askews Foods, is under water.
Much of the Jongs farm in downtown Armstrong, near Askews Foods, is under water.

Other properties along the same creek, including approximately 15 homes and a non-profit, also flooded when waters rose May 5.

While the Jongs feel there is more the City could do to prevent flooding, Armstrong mayor Chris Pieper says little can be done.

“It’s not the City that puts rules on it. It’s the Ministry of Environment,” he says.

He adds the creek is on private property, further limiting what the City can do.

“First, the City can’t just go out there and do it. Second, you can’t do it without getting every single permit in the world,” he says.

For their part, the Jongs are hoping things dry out but admit this year may be a write-off.

“It’s hard on the little guy,” Allan says.

Jing Ping Jong would have most of her plants in the ground by now. Instead, they're sitting in trays in the greenhouse.
Jing Ping Jong would have most of her plants in the ground by now. Instead, they're sitting in trays in the greenhouse.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Charlotte Helston or call 250-309-5230 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

We welcome your comments and opinions on our stories but play nice. We won't censor or delete comments unless they contain off-topic statements or links, unnecessary vulgarity, false facts, spam or obviously fake profiles. If you have any concerns about what you see in comments, email the editor in the link above. 

News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2017
InfoTel News Ltd

  • Popular kelowna News
  • Comments
View Site in: Desktop | Mobile